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Zachary Allen Pilz Photoblog

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Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Winlock Egg Day

 Pictures from the 75th annual Winlock Egg Day

Funny...the one thing I failed to take a picture of was the giant egg. The Winlock Egg has quite the interesting history. Check it out at:


The Winlock Egg was listed as the world’s largest egg by Ripley’s Believe It Or Not in 1989. The current structure is the fourth reincarnation of the original egg.

The first egg was built for a celebration of the opening of the Pacific Highway Bridge over the Columbia River between Washington and Oregon. The idea of an egg came from John G. Lawrence, the manager of the newly formed egg and poultry co-op as a way to represent the growing industry centered in Winlock in the 1920’s. During that time farmers in Winlock were shipping as much as a quarter million cases of eggs to market a year.

The first egg was made of an egg shaped wood frame stretched with canvas and painted white. It was mounted onto a truck as part of a parade of floats and vehicles that traveled from the Olympia, Washington to Salem, Oregon on October 23, 1923, to celebrate the expansion of trade between Washington and Oregon through the railroad. After the parade, the egg was placed on a platform near the train depot, and has since remained a source of local pride, in one form or another.

The first egg was covered with plaster but after 20 years in the elements the egg had deteriorated and was replaced by a plastic version made a new company to the area, the Johnny Simpson’s Plastic Company. This version also lasted about 20 years when it fell from its platform and cracked. A fiberglass replacement was made that some people thought looked more like a football than an egg. Then in 1991 a new replacement egg was part of the Egg Day Parade before it was placed in the Vern Zander Memorial Park. After the 9/11 attacks on the world trade center the egg was painted as a red, white, and blue American flag.

Sunday, June 19, 2011


Why do people photoblog?

Over the past couple years I have heard about people blogging and I honestly never paid much attention and just had no interest in it. To me blogging, was for vain or bored people – and I was certainly neither. Then a little over a year ago I heard the term photoblog and I was suddenly interested in blogging again.

After some research I learned that photoblogging has really exploded across the internet. Now more than ever there are multiple options for affordable digital cameras and a plethora of photosharing websites. People from all different walks of life are photoblogging and for a variety of reasons. Some are amateurs, others professionals, and still others are somewhere in between. All in all, people around the world like to be connected, get feedback, and share ideas and photoblogging is a great way to accomplish this. Read on for additional information and ideas about starting your own photoblog.

What is a photoblog?

A photoblog is basically a blog or weblog created for the purpose of sharing photos. Generally photos are posted and organized in reverse chronological order so that each new post with current pictures rises to the top or front page. The photos are usually accompanied by captions that tell others where and how pictures were taken. Often a photoblog has a unifying theme but other times they are just as random and scattered as the people who blog them.

What should you call your photoblog?

Whether you are photoblogging for pleasure or for business, creating a good name can help build your online identity and will help people find and connect to you. Coming up with a good name deserves some thought. If you want to stand out above the crowd you will want a unique and easy to remember name. However, you may also want to be careful not to limit yourself with a name that is too specific and won’t leave room for future creativity. Whatever you choose to name your photoblog here are a few ideas to consider:

Where are you located? Consider using your hometown name or region as part of you name. For instance, if you live in Centralia, Washington, like I do, you might consider a name like “Centralia-Close-Ups” or “Candid-Centralia”.

Who are you? Are you a diva, a wanna-be world traveler, a homemaker, a teacher, an avid hiker, or an amateur photographer. Tell the world. You might consider using this as part of your name.

Is your photoblog easy to pronounce and well thought out? Make sure your name isn’t hard to say. Chances are if it is too lengthy or too wordy it will be hard to spell and hard for your audience to find online. Also be careful that you carefully choose words that make sense when you stack them together. For instance a name like “Cameras Exchange” is identical to “CameraSexchange. Be careful!

• Is your photoblog memorable and unique? Avoid generic or over-inclusive terms. Make it a one of a kind name that reflects you, your interest, or your audience’s interests.

What can you photoblog about?

The short answer is: anything. Photoblogs can be well organized around a theme or be more fluid and random like a stream of thought. No matter how structured you decide for your photoblog to be, here are some great theme ideas to get you started:

Objects – Get out of the house and find interesting people, places, and things. Point and shoot. Good places to go and find interesting photo opportunities include parks, playgrounds, old buildings, cemeteries, hiking trails, gardens, beaches, mountain views, and community events.

• Timelapse – With some patience, a good tripod, and tape (to mark your tripod location) you can take a series of pictures of the same object or place over time. You may consider taking a picture a day of a seedling that struggles upward and finally blooms with a beautiful flower.

Photo a day – Easy as it sounds. Take one picture per day, post it, and comment or caption it. Your pictures can be random or centered around a theme. But beware of photoblogger block. 365 days is a big commitment. Perhaps consider a photo per week.

Show progress – Not everyone is a great professional or can afford the newest and best cameras, but this doesn’t mean you should wait to photoblog for when you have mastered the art of photography. Instead consider just posting pictures as you take them, invite feedback, journal your experience, and you may surprise yourself about the progress you can make in your photographic skills.

Share techniques – People who use the internet and read blogs often value community and the free flow of information. Consider telling the world what you know. Start by publishing good “how-to” photoblog posts, discuss techniques used in the field or studio, share valuable and relevant information, and invite feedback. Consider choosing one topic at a time, become an expert on it, and then share your experience and knowledge.

Travelogue – Do you have the urge to set sail, trek across the wilderness, or travel to new and exciting places? Consider documenting it with pictures in a travelogue. And keep in mind that you don’t have to be rich or travel to some exotic destination. Just get off the beaten path and explore interesting places, meet memorable people and participate in fun pastimes. Then photoblog it. Even if your activity or destination isn’t extreme or breathtaking, take pictures and document your experience from your perspective. Others may find it interesting.

What photoblogging platform or domain should you use?

There are a variety of places to go to when creating photoblogs on the Internet. Below is a list of some free websites to check out. This is by no means exhaustive.

Blogger – A blog site affiliated with Google that is not primarily focused on photoblogs. However, the Blogger interface is relatively easy to use and adaptable. The simplest way to create a photoblog would be to just paste your pictures into your post using the default template and then save it. From here you can polish your photoblog further with a few of the available pre-customized front end templates. This is the platform I choose primarily because I already had a Google account. Check it out at or for the main site go to

Wordpress – Probably the most popular photoblogging option currently available. There are countless themes and templates available for both free photoblogging and also for commercial accounts. One advantage is that users can easily utilize free webspace provided or pay for extra storage if needed. Also, for less than $20 per year users can add their own domain name to their Wordpress account or transfer an existing one. Check it out at

Flickr – Not technically a photoblog website, Flickr is actually an image hosting website and online community that hosts over 5 billion images. Each user can upload thousands of pictures with captions and tag to their photostream. Each image can be viewed by other users, favorited, or organized together into sets. In addition, user can host and join different groups and participate in niche communities. . Check it out at Also Flickr appears to be working on Brushed Pixels, a photoblogging platform being developed for Flickr users.

Final Word on Photoblogging

Creating your own photoblog is a fun and exciting hobby that can be done by the amateur and professional alike. With some luck and a little hard work you may even create an online following for yourself and participate in one of the fastest growing communities on the Internet. Good luck!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Centralia College History

Yesterday was the Centralia College graduation. It was held on the lawn between the clocktower and Kemp Hall. Just four months ago it was covered in snow. During the commencement speach, the speaker told the story of Centralia College. It is amazing how important our own community college has been for this community. In my own family there are 4 cousins, my wife, two sister-in-laws, my great aunt and myself who have attended as first generation college students. It is definitely a part of us. Below is a wikipedia article I recently contributed to about Centralia and our own Centralia College.

Centralia College

Centralia College is the oldest continuously operating junior college in the state of Washington. The college has been in operation since September 14, 1925. The college’s first classes were held in the top floor of the Centralia High School building and classes were taught by part-time teachers who also taught high school students.

The college found its beginning in large part due to the efforts of C. L. Littel, Centralia Public Schools Superintendent and Dean Frederick E. Bolton of the University of Washington School of Education. During the early years Centralia College prepared students who would later go on to enroll at the University of Washington and a special partnership between the colleges remained in place until 1947. The following year Centralia College earned its accreditation from the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. Two years later the college’s first major campus building, Kemp Hall, was constructed in the heart of Centralia. One member of the Centralia College Foundation Board of Directors was part of the first class in 1950 that helped move chairs from the high school building to the new hall on campus.

The effort to expand and develop a separate campus was largely influenced by the end of WWII and newly enacted GI Bill. This created an oversupply of new students ready to train for their career with limited space to do so. Just prior to this enrollment had been shrinking, as many young Centralians and other residents of Lewis County had left to join the war effort. Prior to the war the college’s future was previously in jeopardy during the Great Depression and resulting local bank closures. From approximately 1925 through the 1940’s the college was primarily funded through private loans and donations from local businesses and community members but steady funds were not always readily available. Credit for Centralia College surviving during these difficult times is in part given to Margaret Corbet, administrator, faculty member, and namesake of Corbet Hall, due to her efforts to keep the college financially afloat.

Points of interest

Carnegie Library is located in Washington Park and was originally built in 1913 followed by a remodel in 1977-78. The building houses a large chandelier taken from the old Centralia High School. The library is now part of the Timberland Regional Library system. During the month of December it is the site of the annual Christmas Tree Lighting.

Centralia Factory Outlets is an outlet mall that hosts tenants such as AĆ©ropostale, Bass, Bath & Body Works, Billabong, Christian Outlet, Claire’s, Coach Eddie Bauer, Helly Hansen, Lane Bryant, Nike Clearance Store, Polo Ralph Lauren Factory Store, Quiksilver, Van Heusen, VF Outlet, Volcom, and others.

Centralia Farmer’s Market is held Fridays, May thru September and has been in existence since 1996. The market features locally grown produce, annuals and perennials, baked goods, and handcrafted items.

Centralia Park System consists of a variety of 15 beautiful parks, trails, and recreational and outdoor areas of interest scattered across 240 acres of combined space. Fort Borst Park is the largest of these areas with over 100 acres of park space. It is home to Borst Lake, nearby Chehalis and Skookumchuck Rivers, and adjoining outdoor sports facilities. Within the park you can also find the historic 1860’s Borst Mansion, the iconic old Fort Borst Blockhouse, and a replica of the original Borst One Room Schoolhouse.

Centralia Union Depot was built in 1912 and features red brick architecture, vintage oak benches, and internal and external woodworking throughout. In 1996 restoration projects were started and finished in 2002. The depot is currently served by Amtrak as the midpoint between Kelso, Washington and Lacey, Washington. The depot is also served by connections to the Twin Transit Transportation system and is located within walking distance to Carnegie Library, Historic Fox Theater, McMenamin’s Olympic Club Hotel & Theater, Santa Lucia Coffee Company as well as various eateries, shops, and antique vendors.

Country Cousin is a local country themed restaurant, lounge, and gift shop. At the front door customers are greeted by a door activated crowing rooster sound and seated by wait staff. Throughout the restaurant the country theme continues with farm implements, antique kitchen utensils, and folk art paintings displayed on walls and hanging throughout. Each booth includes various pages from farmers almanac, newspaper clippings, vintage photographs and other local history saved on the tabletops. Unique food items include yak meat and sour cream blackberry pie.

Fox Theater originally opened on September 5, 1930. It was built with approximately 1,200 seats over three seating levels. The first film seen by the public was Buster Keaton in Dough Boys. In 1982 the theater underwent renovations and separated the main stage into three smaller screening areas. The theater closed in 1998 and was purchased by Opera Pacfica in 2004 and underwent initial stages of restoration. In 2007 the City of Centralia bought the theater and it is currently being further restored by the Historic Fox Theatre Restorations. Limited film performances began again in 2009.

McMenamin’s Olympic Club Hotel & Theater opened in 1908 followed by an extensive remodel in 1913. Since then much of the building has remained unchanged. The hotel hosts 27 European-style guestrooms. Each room is named after a person of interest, including Roy Gardner a trainer robber caught behind the hotel in 1921. The club was originally only frequented by gentlemen but has been opened to families for many years. The theater shows second run films, musical and comedy performances, and some televised sports events. The theater has replaced theater seating with various chairs and couches throughout. The pub serves Terminator Stout, Hammerhead, Ruby, and other beverages and food items. Adjoining the pub and dinning area is a 6 table poolroom and snooker table that was recently rated in the top 5 for “Best Pool Hall in Western Washington”. Every April or May the Olympic Club host its annual Brewfest, where local, import, and guest brews are highlighted.

Murals are found throughout historic downtown Centralia. Examples include murals depicting: The founder of Centralia (Centerville) named George Washington, Buffalo Bill and his Wild West Show, and an abstract mural depicting the 1919 Armistice Day Centralia Massacre also known as the Wobbly War.

Santa Lucia Coffee Company is a locally owned coffee house, featuring locally roasted coffee, bottled beverages, pastries, sandwiches, local artists and musicians, and complimentary wi-fi internet.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Pony Ride in Chehalis, Lewis County, Washington

Here is a picture of a little cowboy on the pony rides at the annual Bethel Church Easter Egg Hunt. It just so happens that the little buckaroo wearing the boots is my little nephew. Last year he wanted to ride the pony rides at the South West Washington Fairgrounds but when it came time he got cold feet. But this year he got the courage to ride and I am so proud of the little guy.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Unofficial Start to Summer - Centralia Backyard Campfire and Party Lights

After getting back from camping over Memorial Day Weekend it was hard to get back into the swing of things at work. Luckily the long weekend made for a following short work week and I was ready to enjoy the unexpected great weekend weather in the Pacific Northwest.

My wife and I were determined to enjoy our backyard and wanted to recreate the camping experience. I attempted my hand at starting a campfire in the firepit with my flint I bought from the Portland Saturday Market last year. Ultimately I cheated and used some tiki torch oil to get things going after a few unsuccessful attempts. After we got the fire blazing we plugged in the party lights in the backyard to create our own little slice of heaven right here in Lewis County Washington. I even jumped into the hammock. I love our little backyard.

Here are some pictures from this weekend:

Yahoo Answers by Zacharyallenpilz Shared DNA Half Cousin Once Removed

So one area of interest for my blog is genealogy. I have started my family tree and will soon post about the journey. In the meantime, I also like helping other people learn about genealogy and related topics. Below is a family tree Q&A that I answered recently on Yahoo Answers that relates to this blog topic:
Q: How much DNA is shared between half cousin once removed in percentage?

A: So let's get started...
Your first cousin is the child of your mother or father's full brother or sister. So a half first cousin would be the child of your mother's or father's half brother or half sister.
As an example, if your father John has a half-brother George, then George has a son Mike, Mike would be your “half cousin”. Now if Mike had a son or daughter, that person would be your “half cousin once removed.”

That being said, you get half of your DNA (excluding mitochondrial DNA), from your mother and half from your father. This is the same for your full biological sister or brother. So you statistically share 100% DNA with your sibling 50% from your mom’s side and 50% from your dad’s. Therefore anyone is 50% related to half brothers and sisters because they only share one parent’s DNA. Furthermore you share 50% of your full first cousins DNA if you share 2 out of 4 grandparents DNA. An exception to this would be if two brothers from one family married two sisters from another or a brother and a sister of one family married a brother and a sister from another, then I guess the cousins would share 100% DNA like siblings do and would be very closely related to themselves.
Anyways...let’s put this all together…you share 50% DNA with one parent who shares 50% DNA with their half brother or half sister who shares 50% DNA with their son or daughter (otherwise known as your “half cousin once removed”). So according to my calculations you statistically share 12.5% DNA with your “half cousin once removed” (50% x 50% x50% =12.5%). In reality, it is not so clear cut...but this the closest you will get to an accurate percentage...I hope this makes sense.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Memorial Weekend Camping

It's been a while since I uploaded pictures or worked on any projects. Life has a way of getting you busy. But Memorial Day Weekend was a great chance for me to get back to a better pace of life. Three days of nothing but family fun and food and a whole lot of relaxation. I also managed to take a handful of nice pictures and am starting to to get excited about saving up for a better camera again. I've got my eye on a couple cameras but for now I will just have to get by. Can't wait to start to get out more to hunt for good photo opportunities. Here are a few of my favorite shots from our Memorial Day Lewis County Camping Trip at Paradise Leisure Time Thousand Trails Resort